2am, Again. 

And they are so merciless,

these hours of darkness.

Broken clocks and silence

that shatters the windows

and shadows that arrange

themselves in the hollows

of my wretchedly sad mind.

There isn’t anyone but me,

a small girl with a big world

that closes fast around her.

I am alone, lost, homesick.

A vagrant heart that beats

in hushed resonance with

the loneliness of the night.

I long to find my way home

so I tie my laces and follow

trails of stale breadcrumbs

back down the paths I have

taken to find my way here.

But they are all overgrown

with weeds of remorse and

they only incline me further

away from myself and I have

lost the path that leads me

narrowly back to my heart.

I ask the stars if they would

show me the way, but they

busily cavort with the moon,

eager to skite their radiance

before morning light steals

away their glory, and I walk,

alone, lost to the night again,

still trying to find my way home. 

~ © Kathy Parker ~ 

Image courtesy www.mei-senpai-chan.deviantart.com

And This Is How Survival Looks On You

alone-girl-sunset-Favim.com-196158.jpg

And sometimes it is so hard to care for others when you can barely care for yourself. When you are tired in a way sleep will never ease. When the night goes too long and the morning comes too soon and you wonder where you will draw the strength to get through another day when there is nothing left in your drought-stricken bones.

You dress, make coffee, force a smile and hope nobody studies your eyes close enough to see the 4am loneliness that still lingers like tendrils of ivy that have crept in and wrapped themselves around your soul; relentless, incessant, determined.

You wear brave so well that nobody sees beyond the surface of your survival to the battle beneath. The way every day is another day on the frontline, no matter how exhausted and torn apart you already are. Nobody sees the fresh blood drawn from old wounds or the anguish in your muscles that are always on guard or how much it takes for you to get back up when your knees bleed from the crawl.

You do the best you can but it never feels enough. Every night inadequacy whispers its shame against your ear and soon your heart beats in time with its words. Failure. Disappointment. Hopeless. Weak. Useless. Incapable. All you ever wanted was to do better – to be better – than what was shown to you. But you feel as though you fall so short. That you let down those who need you. That you aren’t enough and never will be.

You’re so damn hard on yourself. As if it isn’t enough just to have survived this far. As if it isn’t enough to have found a way to stitch your broken pieces together when there was such little of yourself left. Instead, you’re so ashamed of not being straight lines and seamless joins and all you see are the jagged scars drawn across your body and your fingers trace over them like braille and to you they spell defeat.

Darling, let me tattoo truth inside your wrists so when you’ve forgotten who you are you need only look down. Undefeated. Worthy. Resilient. Strong. Courageous. Determined. Perfect. Enough. And if the light grows weak and the words fade before your eyes I will say them out loud and the letters will fall from my mouth and form a bridge that will lead you back to yourself once more.

You are so much more than you see. Your weakness intertwines with courage, your fear entangles bravery and your vulnerability is laced with strength. There is so much fortitude in the way you give all you have, even when you have nothing to give.

I know, today, you don’t believe me. I know today you are tired eyes and tear-stained pillows and battle scars etched upon your face. But all I ask is you look away from what you have come to believe about yourself and instead, look at me. Search my eyes for your reflection and in them you will see the truth.

That the way survival looks on you, my love, is nothing short of breathtaking.

Image courtesy http://asman0526.javanblog.ir

 

From My Heart To Yours ❤️

Today my Facebook page hit 5000 followers. This time last year I had about 500. And maybe to some, this isn’t significant. But to me, I’m humbled and thankful beyond words. It isn’t about the numbers. I don’t align my self-worth and success with numbers, and would continue to write even if nobody followed my work. It’s about each and every one of you allowing me into your lives. Me – just some girl from the middle of nowhere who started to write because I needed to heal. The words I write are my journey, and I’m so incredibly grateful for each and every one of you who has come along this journey with me, and who has allowed me to become a part of your journey too. 

I don’t always find writing easy. To be honest, I don’t always find life easy. My world unraveled a number of years ago when I stared rock bottom in the eye and had to find a way to rebuild through the haze of Complex-PTSD, as well as ME/CFS. Some days I am still so overwhelmed with life, I cannot even get out of bed and face the day. Some days I want to write but there is such a heavy fog upon my mind the words get trapped and there is no way for them to find their way out. I get exhausted, frustrated, despondent. Some weeks there isn’t enough hours for me to bleed all I need to on the page. Other weeks, I can’t even pick up a pen.

Because of this, I don’t always respond to every comment. It can take me a while to get back to messages and emails. I often need to disengage from social media and won’t write or post for a time.

But I’ve learned to be kind to myself and know that this is okay. There are no rules to the way we heal. There is no right or wrong. We can’t heal, and live, under the expectations of others. To do so will only destroy ourselves. We walk our own path, one foot in front of the other, and we make it through each day the best way we can.

Through each one of you, I have come to know I am not alone in this. That I am loved and supported and cared for, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. Thank you. You’ll never know how much this means to me. 

Many of you have asked whether I have a book out. Now seems like a good time to mention that my first book, The Unraveled Heart, is currently being published. I don’t have a release date at this stage, but hope to have it out by Nov/Dec, so I’ll keep you posted as I know more 🙂

Thank you again, my beautiful tribe. Thank you for being here. Every one of you is significant to me. Every one of you is a reminder of why I continue to write, even when it’s hard. It matters. You matter. 

From my heart to yours, 

Kathy x

Free. 

img_7089

And she thought
to be accepted
she had to be good.
Follow the rules.
Do everything right.
Be perfect.
Keep them comfortable.
But good wasn’t real,
and she began to shrink
inside the lies of who
she pretended to be
until she became
so small her bones
crushed inside her frame
and she broke wide open,
scattered pieces laid bare
for the world to see.
A glorious destruction.
No longer hidden.
All of her naked.
Uncovered. Bleeding.
Exposed.
Free.
Real lost her many things.
But her soul it found.
And she would rather
walk alone in her
wondrous truth than
forfeit her real
for a scrap of their
shallow acceptance.

To Darkness

rain

Harsh winds began to rattle the windows
and the trees were stripped of their beauty
and she mourned the final moments
of autumn light as it became lost
to charcoal skies.
She shivered as the chill of winter
settled under her skin.
It brought with it a heaviness,
as if each drop of rain that fell
landed inside her hollow bones
and left her waterlogged; drowning
beneath its bitter sadness.
She longed to stay above the darkness
that rose inside her chest,
but each day she grew colder
and apathy wrapped around her until
she surrendered to the weight of it.
“Just for a while I’ll stay here
in this bleak comfort,” she told herself.
“Just until the wind no longer howls
through my soul and the sky
lifts its sorrow from my eyes.”
But it has been winter for so long now
that she fears she has become it, and
her grief-soaked heart lies in silent hope
that one day someone will pull her
from the water and gently wring
the sadness from her bones.

And No-one Ever Told Me How To Break

sad woman

And no-one ever told me how

healing was supposed to feel.

That it would be an anguish

that claws along my ribcage

before it tears me wide open

and lays bare all my ugliness.

That it would be scarves of

pain weaved around my neck

like hands that grip my throat

and leave me fighting for life.

That it would be a wilted body,

exhausted from the relentless

fight against the demons that

wage war upon my beaten soul.

That it would be bloody hands,

blistered and raw from clinging

so tightly to the addictions that

deaden this goddamn torment.

No, no-one ever told me how

healing was supposed to feel.

I didn’t know it would hurt like

barbwire dragged over my skin,

and knives gouged in my heart.

Yet all I know is before I’m able

to full heal, I must allow myself

to fully break.

Image courtesy yourtango.com

Oceans Made Of Silence And Tears 

And it was always there; the underlying sadness, the ocean she had wept in silence and in tears. Most days she was strong enough to keep ahead of the dark waters she so feared. But then there were the days she could only tread water. These were the days sadness grabbed her by the ankles and pulled her below the surface. These were the days she could no longer hold herself above the water; the days she could no longer breathe for the weight of pain that would rest upon her chest and close in around her lungs. These were the days she wanted to be saved the least. These were the days she needed to be saved the most. And all she longed for was someone who wasn’t afraid of the deep. 

Drought-Stricken Love

Desert.jpg

And I have seen what love does.

Razor blades against soft flesh.

Blood poured like mulled wine

into glasses that get shattered

against walls of hurt and blame.

I pay no heed to the rising thirst

that wells from beneath my skin.

I am dry bones, dust-filled veins,

arid landscapes of wasted hope.

Here, there is nothing left in me

that can bleed upon the ground.

Here, there is nowhere love can

grow in this drought soul of mine.

But still, even without the rains,

a flower will bloom in the desert,

and I cannot help but pick petals

that break through parched soil.

They are blown into the distance,

and the echo of my hopeful voice

is carried upon the summer winds.

He loves me, he loves me not.

 

Image courtesy theodysseyonline.com

How Clickbait Killed The Creative Muse

UnknownToday I sat down and tried to write an article. It didn’t happen. This seems to be a regular occurrence of late, and while I can easily justify any number of reasons for it, the reality is, right now, I just have no desire to write an article.

There are many factors behind creative burnout – pressure, deadlines, expectation, exhaustion, perfectionism, the need to create with purpose rather than with joy, just to name a few. And while I can relate to all of these on some level, my current burnout can be summed up with one thing: I have simply lost heart.

I’ve considered the reasons for this of late as I’ve been journeying through this parched creative desert. For a brief moment, I contemplated the idea that staying up too late watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy and drinking cheap red wine may be a factor but soon dissed this idea. Was it the busy demands of life with four children and a farm that has left little time and energy to write? Possibly. And yet, even with that I’ve always managed to carve out sacred and much-loved moments of creativity.

I made a cup of tea this afternoon and scrolled through various news feeds in search of well written, beautifully crafted articles that would inspire me. Instead, I was assailed with articles such as these: Want to Know His Penis Size? Look at His Fingers! 7 Best BDSM Sex Positions To Make Submissive Women Orgasm, What A Woman’s Chin Says About Her Sex Drive, 2 HELLA-HOT Sex Tips That’ll Make Your Man Crave Your Vagina, 10 Harsh Truths Your Husband’s Prostitute Wants You To Know, Is Anal The New Black?, 7 Ways To Make Him Want You For More Than Just Sex, Foods Your Man Should Avoid If He Wants A Blowjob Tonight – not to mention countless articles that informed me of how I will die, the type of man I should marry, how much sex I should be having, the type of orgasm I should be having, and what I should eat for dinner tonight, all based on my zodiac. Which, thank God for those or I might well have not had enough or too much sex this week and mistakenly eaten fish instead of steak tonight. Whew.

I sat and read the titles of these articles, and even dared to open a few of them hoping I was being all super Judgey McJudgerson and they actually contained quality writing. But the more I read, the more despair heaved itself upon me. That’s when I felt it. This is why I have lost heart. These are articles with hundreds of thousands of likes, comments, shares. These are articles I am forced to compete with, that I will never be able to. I don’t even want to.

Recently a well reputed magazine put a call out for two sex diaries that could be written about the fact that (a) you’re cheating, or (b) you’re into something kinky, with a note saying they want to know ALL the sordid, juicy details. What astounded me most about this call out was the rate of pay. It’s difficult for a freelance writer to be offered compensation in anything other than exposure, which, while all writers love trying to pay their weekly bills and child’s education in exposure, just doesn’t quite cut it all the time. At best, most writers are lucky to receive $20, $50, $100 per article that may have a required word length of 800-1500 words.

Yet here is a magazine offering $420 for 600 words. At that rate of pay, even I was tempted. In fact, I began to mentally compose some make-believe trash tale about doing something kinky while cheating in the hope that they’d offer to pay me $840 for covering both bases at once. I could even write it anonymously if I wanted to – oh what a delicious sell-out I could be just for once to make a decent income from an article.

This is what we as writers’ face when we sit at our desk. To want to write with meaning, with heart, with integrity; yet to do so means our voices will rarely be heard above the clatter and clang of garbage that is being dumped upon the busy superhighway of information where there is little interest to pick through our integrity with so much other unsavoury trash on the ground.

Part of my requirement as a writer is to spend numerous hours each week creating, building and nurturing my social media platform. And while I understand and agree with the necessity of this in our social media driven world, it’s time spent replying to comments, messages and emails at the expense of time I would rather use to write. I love my social media tribe and am thankful for their love and support, without them I wouldn’t be here, but lately I struggle with the motivation to spend time building numbers when I can’t help but wonder if all the numbers in the world even matter when they are unlikely to amount to actual readers because the titles of my articles don’t mention Sex, Orgasm, Blowjob, Vibrator, or How to Make Your Man Go Down on You in Three Easy Steps. As useful as that information may be. And while I believe good writing should confront and challenge the reader, there’s a difference between being prodded a little outside your comfort zone and having to double check that you didn’t just click a link to some amateur how-to porn site.

Last year I spoke at our local school during Literacy Week. My talk was based around this quote from the movie, Dead Poets Society, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” I told those students these things: write about what matters, write with passion, and make your words count. That every word we write, we send into the world like a stone cast upon water; we have the power to create ripples that can either harm or heal, mend or break, sow love or sow hate. We have the power to change. To change minds, to change hearts. To change future generations. This is not just our privilege, this is our responsibility, and yet we prostitute ourselves for the sake of goddamn clickbait and our perverted, narcissistic fetish for numbers.

Maybe I sound like a jaded writer. Maybe I am one. Or maybe I’m just burnt out. Maybe I’m just tired of being part of a minority of writers who care. Who bust themselves to write with integrity and to maintain a standard of literature in our society. Who write with passion, with meaning, with desire for words to connect, for words to be music to the silent soul, to be the balm that heals the wounded, to pour light and warmth into the darkest corners, to bring change, to make a difference, to matter, only for those words to remain unseen, unheard, unnoticed.

Maybe I’ll just stop caring and stay off social media and go back to writing in journals that are kept in shoe boxes under the bed and hope one day when I’m no longer of this world someone will read those journals and think, huh, she had some good shit to say.

Or maybe I’ll just begin to speak a little louder from now on and pray one day my words will create a ripple strong enough that it will somehow change the world.

To Those Who Hurt On Father’s Day

sad boho woman.jpg

And nobody sees the wound inside your heart that still bleeds long after the ones around it have healed. It is relentless, insatiable, this wound of rejection and abandonment that has sat upon your heart since you were a child. This belief you weren’t enough to make him stay. Maybe if you were prettier, lovelier. Maybe if you were less trouble. Maybe if you looked more like him; if your eyes and smile didn’t remind him of the woman he no longer loved. Maybe if you were just more somehow. Maybe then he’d have stayed.
 
Year after year you waited for him to return. Every birthday he was the wish you made upon candles of waned hope. You always imagined him to be your hero, your prince; the knight in shining armour that would come and rescue you from the hands of evil you had been forced into. You dreamed of what it would feel like to be protected by his strong arms, to feel safe. To feel loved. Cherished. Seen. Wanted.
 
You waited, but he never came, and you grew up believing you weren’t worth being protected. You weren’t valued enough to be loved. You grew up a small girl alone in a very big and dangerous world knowing the only person you could depend on was yourself. You become tough, hard, cold; all the while still searching for that pair of strong arms in every person you would meet, no matter how much they would hurt you, no matter how much the cost to your heart.
 
And still, today, the wound continues to bleed. No matter what vices you pack into the gaping hole he left, the pain is still there. No matter how much you try and distract yourself you still find yourself blindsided by moments of grief, of loss; of longing to be a child held in the safe arms of a loving father. It never becomes less. It never leaves.
 
Maybe there are some wounds that will never heal. Maybe there are wounds that slice so deeply into your core that no amount of stitches will ever hold it together long enough to stop the bleeding. Maybe you will always hurt the most in the place you were first wounded.
 
But maybe one day you will come to know it wasn’t about you, but him.
 
Maybe one day you will come to know how much you were wanted. The way creation longed for you; the way you were dreamed into being with wonder and awe and hope. The way the galaxies held their breath with longing the moment you were conceived. The way the stars spoke of your name long before you were born. How the entire universe conspired to bring you into existence.
 
Maybe one day will come to know how much you matter, even if he could never tell you that.
 
And even though your wound may still bleed, maybe it will begin to hurt a little less.